Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick
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Multan Sultans 245 for 3 (Rizwan 83*, Rossouw 71, Masood 57) beat Quetta Gladiators 128 (Akmal 50, Khushdil 2-17) by 117 runs
Multan Sultans scorched their way to an eighth victory from nine, racking up the second-highest total and the biggest winning margin in the history of the PSL, as Quetta Gladiators' chances of progressing to the knockouts were reduced to a mathematical fancy in the first match of Friday's double-header in Lahore.
The reigning champions had already secured a top-two spot and a place in next week's qualifier, and they opted to flex their muscles by batting first. A century opening stand inside the first ten overs between Shan Masood and Mohammad Rizwan set an imposing platform, allowing Sultans to plunder a further 144 through the second half of the innings. Rilee Rossouw bludgeoned a carefree 71 from just 26 balls as they narrowly failed to eclipse Islamabad United's PSL high score of 247.
Requiring a record run chase, Quetta fired briefly through Jason Roy and Umar Akmal but were unable to sustain such a punishing asking rate while keeping wickets intact. David Willey struck with his first delivery, a full inswinger that removed Will Smeed - who made 99 in his previous outing - for a duck, and then had Roy caught just beyond the cover ring for 38 from 19 as Gladiators reached 66 for 3 at the end of the powerplay.
Akmal kept coming, clearing the ropes six times on the way to a 22-ball fifty, but once he holed out off Imran Tahir, the Quetta chase fell away. Willey, Asif Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Khushdil Shah each picked up two wickets as Gladiators were dismissed inside 16 overs, having got barely halfway to their target.
Sultans were in ruthless mood from the outset, Masood and Rizwan mixing judicious boundary hitting with hard running; Quetta's depleted attack only managed 12 dot balls in the first 10 overs. The opening stand had reached 119, both openers scoring half-centuries - Rizwan's fifth of the season taking 28 balls, Masood getting there from 33 - when Mohammad Irfan trapped the latter in front on review. But that simply provided the perfect stage for Rossouw to make his entrance.
Rossouw's second ball was dispatched over deep backward square leg for six, and he then mixed orthodox power with delicate placement on a brace of reverse-sweeps to take three fours in a row off Noor Ahmad. Another burst of boundaries off Sohail Tanvir saw Rossouw reach a half-century from 20 balls before Noor was on the receiving end again, clattered for 4-4-6 in the 18th over. Rossouw fell at the start of the next, picking out deep midwicket with a flat pull that would have otherwise gone for six.
Rizwan had been happy to give up the strike, contributing just 15 to another century stand, but he passed 400 runs for the second PSL running on the way to an unbeaten 83. The only Quetta bowler to go at less than 10 runs per over was Irfan, playing his first match since being called in as a replacement for Mohammad Hasnain - and he was unable to finish his allocation after being taken off in the 16th over for delivering two high full tosses.
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